As the name would suggest, this is the fourth segment of the new series I am writing this week, which is documenting my favourite albums released from every year I have been alive. This fourth segment sees some new influences come into mix including punk and classical.
2005: Reuben – ‘Very Fast Very Dangerous’
Hailing from the place of my birth, I feel Reuben definitely belong on this list. Reuben, who are unfortunately no longer active, had a unique blend of hard rock and post-hardcore, fueled by punk-like energy levels.
‘Very Fast Very Dangerous’ is an unforgiving second album, containing eleven aggressive, adrenaline powered rock tunes, with the band only coming up for air twice to showcase their softer sides. As a three piece, it’s surprising just how much audio space they can full with manic drums, gritty bass lines and gnarly guitar riffs, as well as Jamie Lenman’s brilliant cleans and roars. Highlights off the album include the gigantic ‘Blamethrower’ and the equally bitter rant about working in the music business featured on ‘Return Of The Jedi’.
2006: Bullets & Octane – ‘In The Mouth Of The Young’
This fourth installment of the blog carries on the punk influences with the equally irritated second album from California based Bullets & Octane. This a strange album to choose, considering this is the only Bullets & Octane album I actually like and own, not to mention the stiff competition it faced from In Flames’ ‘Come Clarity’, The Mars Volta’s ‘Amputechture’ and Mastodon’s ‘Blood Mountain’.
Nevertheless, ‘In The Mouth Of The Young’ contains all the spitting attitude and chugging fifth chords expected from a punk release, combined with the twang of American blues. Whilst tracks like ‘Caving In’, ‘Going Blind’ and ‘Signed In Alcohol’ rage at a glorious speed; the rhythm section somehow managing not to trip over itself, others, like ‘Cancer California’, take the time to groove and provide a respite to Gene Louis’ vocal attack.
2007: Radiohead – ‘In Rainbows’
‘In Rainbows’ carries on Radiohead’s unique hybrid of alternative rock and electronic music which they have been purveyors of since 2000’s ‘Kid A’. Every track is densely layered with lush instrumentation mutated by effects, driven along by punchy bass lines, all intertwined with Thom Yorke’s very distinctive whine.
Apart from the manic ‘Bodysnatchers’ and the groovy ’15 Step’, most of the album follows a mellower path, opting for orchestration and melody over distorted guitar. ‘All I need’ follows a slow synth line through moody atmospheres, whilst Thom Yorke’s beautiful vocals become increasingly more drowned out beneath an array of swells, cymbal crashes and noise. ‘Videotape’ is a melancholic track rotating around a sparse piano theme and a jittery drum beat, meanwhile ‘Weird Fishes/Arpeggi’ is a moment of beauty, utilising steel drums, dance beats, warm guitar arpeggios and soaring vocals. Overall ‘In Rainbows’ is an introverted musical journey through equally doses of euphoria and sorrow. One of the best albums ever made.
2008: Apocalyptica – ‘Worlds Collide’
2008’s pick continues with the beautiful orchestration in the form of Apocalyptica’s ‘Worlds Collide’. Apocalyptica are a Finnish, classically inspired, metal band, formed of three (classically trained) cellists and a drummer. Beginning as a cover band, especially when it came to Metallica songs, Apocalyptica soon began to write their own songs and grow in musical ambition, culminating in the release of the magnificent ‘Worlds Collide’.
The album features seven instrumentals and four tracks with vocals provided by guest singers. Rammstein’s Till Lindemann offers a German reinterpretation of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil shows off her powerful voice on ‘S.O.S. (Anything But Love)’, ex-Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier offers vocals for ‘I Don’t Care’ and Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor produces a perfect performance on the theatrical ‘I’m Not Jesus’.
Putting the excellent vocal tracks aside, the instrumentals are equally as special, juxtaposing beautiful melodies with heavy punches and sounds that you’d never expect to hear coming from the body of a cello. There is real diversity across the album with tracks like ‘Last Hope’ being as heavy as any Metallica song and other songs like ‘Peace’ which are able to show off their classical side whilst still keeping the metal aspect of their sound. An amazing record from one of the most unique bands out there.
Thank you for reading, if you liked this blog please leave like, comment and subscribe to email updates. If you missed the previous three installments of this series, they are linked below: